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- Quantum Mechanics as Classical Physics

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On the face of it, quantum physics is nothing like classical physics. Despite its oddity, work in the foundations of quantum theory has provided some palatable ways of understanding this strange quantum realm. Most of our best theories take that story to include the existence of a very non-classical entity: the wave function. Here I offer an alternative which combines elements of Bohmian mechanics and the many-worlds interpretation to form a theory in which there is no wave function. According to this theory, all there is at the fundamental level are particles interacting via Newtonian forces. In this sense, the theory is classical. However, it is still undeniably strange as it posits the existence of many worlds. Unlike the many worlds of the many-worlds interpretation, these worlds are fundamental, not emergent, and are interacting, not causally isolated. The theory will be presented as a fusion of the many-worlds interpretation and Bohmian mechanics, but can also be seen as a foundationally clear version of quantum hydrodynamics. A key strength of this theory is that it provides a simple and compelling story about the connection between the amplitude-squared of the wave function and probability. The theory also gives a natural explanation of the way the wave function transforms under time reversal and Galilean boosts.

©2012 Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics